TREND ALERT: CLIMATE FASHIONCATEGORY / Fashion & Lifestyle TAGS / climate, fashion, fashion industry, metafabric Fractals LAB / Enerie DATE / February 4, 2022
Fabrics or garments that change according to weather conditions.
Respect and interest for environmental issues has been growing significantly in the last few years. Many industries are responsible for serious damage to the environment, including the fashion industry. In the article published in November “Top 5 bio textiles in fashion” we highlighted that fashion industry is responsible for 20% of water pollution and harmful gas emissions into the air and the use of innovative and ecological solutions such as biofabrication are trying to change the environmental damage. The active response to external climatic conditions is not only dictated by factors of environmental sustainability, but also of human survival: according to the Migration Data Portal, environmental disasters, and therefore an inhospitable climate in which to live, caused more than 30.7 million migrations in 2020 alone. In this regard, the entire fashion industry is moving more and more actively to adopt environmentally friendly solutions: for example, by developing prototypes that react to the climate or by creating fabrics that can make their users think about climate change.
Scientists from China’s Zhejiang University and Westlake University (USA) have developed a new reversible fabric called Janus, which is able to change the temperature conditions of the wearer. This experimental fabric consists of layers of polymers and cotton fibers, designed with special structures and coatings. Worn on the warm side, the material is covered with zinc and copper nanoparticles, which absorb solar energy; flipping the t-shirt over to the cooling side, however, the fabric is covered with an extremely thin layer of aluminum. This surface looks like fabric, but the aluminum reflects light like a mirror, so all that solar energy that would be captured as heat bounces off the T-shirt. This layer is also porous, allowing steam to evaporate. The researchers claim the fabric is cheap to produce, concluding that wearing high-tech fabrics like Janus could save us significant greenhouse gas emissions from heating and cooling, making outdoor environments more conducive to living.
Practical and innovative fabrics like Janus are being considered the future for this environmentally friendly industry.
Guangming Tao of Huazhong University of Science and Technology in Wuhan, China, and his colleagues have developed what they call a “metafabric” by combining microscopic beads and fibers of titanium oxide, Teflon and a plastic called polylactic acid, all embedded in larger fibers. The concept is to keep one’s body temperature several degrees lower despite direct exposure to sunlight. This fabric is most effective when worn in contact with the skin, so it can capture the heat and start the cooling process. The team has shown that wearing metafabric even indoors can decrease body temperature by at least 2°, thus reducing the demand for air conditioning. Importantly, metafabric can be spun on bobbins, is more elastic than cotton and as strong as spandex. Therefore, existing commercial sewing machines can be used and for any clothing pattern without the need for special equipment or hand sewing.
Abacus Sportswear is a revolutionary golf apparel brand that uses high-performance waterproof fabrics. The brand has launched the “X-Series” collection, which promotes versatile, technologically advanced, climate-controlled garments. Designed with a temperature-regulating fabric that uses the new “37.5 technology” that helps maintain body temperature at the ideal 37.5 Celsius. When exposed to heat, active particles embedded in the material remove sweat in the vapor phase before it forms, cooling the wearer; in colder temperatures, the same active particles trap body heat to help warm the wearer. The 37.5 technology consists of coconut shell and volcanic sand incorporated into the fiber; together they create 800% more surface area to keep the wearer drier and performing better. Additionally, these properties are designed not to diminish as a result of washing, unlike many other breathable treatments.
Modernature is a brand that creates innovative, temperature-regulating garments with the goal of supporting the environment: Its creations are composed of a revolutionary fabric called Volcanxx® that uses the best technology along with natural materials to adapt to the wearer’s body temperature. The fabric uses “37.5 technology” combined with other components such as volcanic sand, beech pulp and spandex. This combination offers the best features built into a fabric to maximize temperature regulation at an affordable price.
Raw Color is a design studio that handles projects and commissions ranging from graphic design to photography and product design for a variety of brands. Raw Color’s driving force is a commitment to color, specifically how it can shape and influence our surroundings. Related to this is the “Temperature Textiles” project, a range of highly colorful knitted textiles such as blankets, scarves and socks adorned with graphics about climate data. Once the products capture attention, they can then inform the user or push them to learn more. The project is divided into three categories that include temperature change, sea level rise and emissions – three main factors that are results of global warming. The graphs on the blanket illustrate observed and projected sea level rise from 2000-2100, while the socks run from 2020-2050. The colors on the blanket represent emissions in warm and cool tones, and the graphs are based on climate data; likewise, the scarf and blankets feature graphs denoting how global temperatures increase dramatically if emissions are not reduced.
Have you seen other examples of “climate fashion”? Write them in the comments!